Increase in tech-enabled consumer safety

Dr. Ivan Zhao is a biotechnology expert. He is the co-founder and CEO. It appearsA wellness company that discovers new molecules.

In my view, there has never been a more prosperous and progressive global society. As people live longer in better socio-economic environments, their eyes will inevitably turn to health and longevity. Our technological advances have transformed practically every industry, but we’re only just beginning to see the beginnings of what it can do for health. Here are some trends I predict regarding the intersection of technology and wellness.

Software enabled health

We can start with the obvious. Software is eating the health industry. It was an easy access to the first border. With services like online marketplaces, delivery platforms and telehealth, finding health products that can make a big impact has never been easier. However, this easy access can be a dangerous game, and FDA-approved drugs must be closely monitored for overprescribing.

I see personalization as the next frontier for software security. With more accurate information, consumers should be able to access highly personalized treatments and wellness practices. Current progress on this idea is based primarily on surveys, and we see significant progress in this area as the next wave incorporates biomarker measurements and real-world user data.

Of course, you can’t mention software these days without talking about artificial intelligence (AI). AI, when used for product discovery, is the ultimate pattern-recognition machine that can predict new products we never thought possible. AI, when used as a product, can range from therapist replacement to the ultimate evolution of personal safety (Baymax from Big hero six). No matter the application, AI will be where sci-fi security companies thrive.

Hardware enabled health

Phones are now walking TVs, portable music players and supercomputers. We are only beginning to see how these improvements in hardware can affect health. The first startup looks at community fitness products (see Peloton), which use machines to connect people in their own homes.

I think the next frontiers for hardware in health will be in the diagnostic space. The biggest problem in health right now is imperfect data, and cheap tests linked to better tracking systems allow for much better readings of how different additives affect people. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these inexpensive tests are coming into full view, and we’re only getting better at measuring biomarkers like proteins, RNA and small molecules.

Finally, I also foresee a temporary solution for some biometrics to be integrated with future wellness. We’ve seen people get live readings from Apple Watches and Fitbits, like their heart rate, but we haven’t seen it all connected to what they eat and other activities.

Biotechnology enabled health

Just as the marvels of electrical and computer engineering have revolutionized the user, our medicinal capabilities have increased rapidly over the past 30 years. Interestingly, recently consumer demand for natural supplements and cosmetic ingredients is slowly reversing, so we should expect a new wave of better engineered and purposefully derived products. We should see companies shift their focus from marketing to research and development in order to use some of the new security methods.

These new methods are at the heart of this biotechnology safety revolution. If we expand the small molecule space to all possible molecules, we have billions of solutions to choose from. In addition, protein, peptide and RNA solutions for health are quickly prepared. These reforms must be implemented into health practices over the next twenty years.

Finally, the microbiome and engineered microbes are good tools to improve safety. Although we do not yet have a clue of the exact communication code between these microbes and their hosts (us), in the next ten years, more and more of this should be revealed. With this new knowledge, we can engineer users’ microbiomes to help people with many different health conditions.

Closed-loop health

With all of these new technological advancements, it’s easy to overlook the most important aspect of health with technology—it’s incredibly easy to communicate with customers and people. We can collect data and validate ideas in minutes, and pigeons don’t have to work hard. With more listening and more selling, companies are focusing on building the best products for the next decade. People can start building really amazing brands around really amazing products. The future looks bright for both the wellness industry as well as individual wellness.

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